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R 090601Z NOV 09 

FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA 

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RUEKJCS/ SECDEF WASHDC/ /USDP : PDUSDP / ISA : EUR/ ISA : NESA/ / 

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RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU 

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001601 

SENSITIVE 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV TU 

SUBJECT: MORE COMMENTATORS QUESTION AKP FOREIGN POLICY 

11_1 . (SBU) Among Turkish media commentators and academics, we are 
observing an increasing tendency to question the Erdogan/Davutoglu 
foreign policy's perceived goal of reorienting Turkey away from the 
West towards positions and a vernacular that appeal to the "Islamic 
street." Riza Turmen, a former European Court of Human Rights judge 
and respected columnist, wrote in the November 6 edition of 
"Milliyet" that Turkey's allies are beginning to perceive its 
divergence from Western policy positions and institutions. He 
attributes this divergence to a foreign policy populism that seeks 
to draw energy from religious emotion. He warns that a foreign 
policy based on emotion, rather than sober calculation of national 
self-interest, risks introducing inconsistencies into Turkey's 
positions that will quickly reduce its influence on the 
international stage. President Gul ' s recent admonition to Iran that 
it be fully transparent to the IAEA and senior Turkish bureaucrats ' 
privately expressed regret over the shabby treatment of the Israeli 
ambassador during his recent tour of northeastern Turkey may be part 
of gathering reaction to the excessive influence of populism on 
recent Turkish foreign policy formulation. 

1I_2 . (U) Begin text of Embassy translation of Riza Turmen ' s November 6 
"Milliyet" column: 

Turkey's Choice 

The November/December edition of "Foreign Affairs" magazine included 
an article on developments in Turkish foreign policy under the title 
"Turkey's Transformers". The article is especially noteworthy as it 
is written by Morton Abromowitz and Henri Barkey, two prominent 
foreign policy experts who are familiar with Turkey. 

The article impartially reviews Turkish foreign policy. It is 
critical of certain aspects of that foreign policy and finds other 
aspects praiseworthy. It is useful because it shows us the 
outsider's perspective at a time when foreign policy populism is on 
the rise. The article puts forward the question: "Do leaders of 

Turkey want to play the role of genuine policy implementers in 
global politics or do they want to play the role of representatives 
of Islamic culture?" 

I think here lies the basic thrust of assessments of Turkish foreign 
policy. Turkish foreign policy has recently been very active. 
However, upon closer observation, ideological reasons for this 
activity become apparent. Region always creates an energy. Turkish 
foreign policy has new energy, but, as long as the source of such 
energy is religious belief, one wonders how consistent its 
consequences can be. Consistency is, after all, the yardstick for 
success in foreign policy. 



Inconsistency in Foreign Policy 

Several inconsistencies are noticeable today in Turkish foreign 
policy . 

Moral inconsistencies: Turkey is critical of Israel on moral 

grounds because of its actions in Gaza. Turkey is correct in making 
these criticisms. But you do not see Turkey taking the same stance 
towards Sudan for its crimes against humanity in Darfur. The 
government is a major supporter of Sudan, let alone condemning it. 
The government again keeps silent in the face of crimes committed by 
Hamas against humanity. 

Legal inconsistencies: The incidents in China where Uighurs have 

been killed have been described by the government as "genocide." 
Meanwhile, Turkey has been trying to explain to the world why the 
events of 1915 should not be defined as genocide. One should not 
use the term "genocide" lightly. 

Political imbalances: Turkey tried to act as an intermediary 

between Russia and Georgia during the war between the two states. 
However, Sarkozy had already brokered a ceasefire. Turkey's 
attempts were futile in the end because of its lack of coordination 
with the West. Turkey's proposal for a Peace and Cooperation Pact 
in the Caucasus was never realized. 

One can't say that Turkey seeks balance among the Arabs in the 
Middle East. While remaining aloof from pro-Western countries like 
Egypt and Tunisia, it has close ties with anti-West countries like 
Qatar and Sudan. 

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Another example for Turkey's inconsistent foreign policy is to 
recognize Hamas as the legal representative of the Palestine people, 
while viewing Mahmud Abbas, recognized by many states as the 
president of Palestine, as the leader of an illegal government. 

A State Outside the Western Alliance 

There is no visible change in Turkey's relations with the West. 

But, the problem is Turkey doesn't behave like a member of the 
Western Alliance. Other then talking with the U.S. about security 
issues, Turkey doesn't have a foreign policy dialog with Western 
countries. Islamic sensitivity in Turkey exceeds its former regard 
for the Western democracies. This attitude doesn't make Turkey more 
independent; it only estranges Turkey from the Western Alliance. 

Combined with the mistakes the West makes concerning Turkey, this 
creates a vicious circle, which affects Turkey's ties to the West. 
Turkey will gradually slip away from the West. It will be wrong to 
consider foreign policy independent from domestic policy. In an 
environment where the majority doesn't want Jewish or Christian 
neighbors, it is not surprising to see the priorities of Turkish 
foreign policy slipping towards the Islamic states. During the AKP 
administration, there has been a transformation of Turkey's foreign 
policy that tracks the public opinion. 

What kind of Turkey do we want to see? A secular, democratic and 
modern Turkey, integrated with the West or a Middle Eastern state 
where public life is organized according to authoritarian religious 
rules and everything depends on what the leader says? It is 
necessary to make a choice. I wonder if the choice has already been 
made . 

End text. 



JEFFREY